Porsche's reborn star

In the lead-up to a three-way supercar battle next year, Weissach reveals more details about the 918 Spyder

Could this point to the final look of the 918? 

If you peel away the Martini Racing livery, you are probably looking at the final article set for showrooms next September with a 110 million baht (including Thai taxes) price tag hanging on its neck.

These pictures have been officially released by Porsche, apparently in a bid to divert some attention from the McLaren P1 that was making loud noises at the Paris Motor Show in concept form.

Ferrari also updated news of its Enzo-replacement at the French car event by unveiling a carbon fibre tub at its stand. It follows the revealing of the petrol-electric hybrid power train first shown at the Beijing auto show last April.

All three seem to have some striking similarities...

Indeed, the two main elements being hybrid power and a lightweight body made from carbon fibre reinforced plastics.

And all have announced that their hypercars are about more performance yet with less CO2 tailpipe emissions. Their mission isn't to break the top speed of the Bugatti Veyron.

Porsche has become the first of the three to divulge preliminary specifications of the 918 Spyder. Here it goes.

There's a 4.6-litre V8 petrol engine producing 570hp. And together with two electric motors (regenerating lost energy and providing bursts of overtaking power), the combined output comes to 770hp.

The 918 does 0-100kph in 2.9sec with a top speed in excess of 325kph. Pure electric driving is possible for 25km at speeds of up to 150kph.

I heard the 918 has just lapped the 'Ring...

It certainly did. Porsche says it recorded a time of 7min 14sec around the Nurburgring _ a track long considered as a mecca for collecting lap times for car marketing buffs to holler about.

To put that into perspective, the Carrera GT predecessor was 18sec slower around the 'Ring and a full second behind in the 0-100kph acceleration than the 918.

Other confirmed features for the 918 are carbon-ceramic brakes and PDK dual-clutch automatic, both of which will also be found in the P1 and new Enzo.

The manual gearbox seems dead...

It should have been dead for quite some time already, even though some makers persist in offering them in some car models.

Dual-clutch automatics are now engineered to shift gears faster than how a driver could do with a manual gearbox.

Some may argue that manual 'boxes give better car control. But when F1 drivers no longer _ and for several years already _ have to dip the clutch with their left foot... enough said.

The 918 Spyder evolution

About the author

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Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor